Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Issues At Bay

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a pretty good basketball team when they have that Russell Westbrook guy out on the court. When he's on the bench things get a little ugly.

No player on the Thunder bench had positive +/- in Sunday's game. Westbrook led the team with a +14, but when he's out of the game the Thunder have trouble getting anything going offensively.

Something has to change for the Thunder to drastically alter the momentum in this series. Part of that is shortening the rotation. Just like last year when Billy Donovan staggered Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he must do the same thing against the Rockets.

Victor Oladipo hasn't had a good series. He's been streaky and his confidence doesn't seem to be very high. But, for Oklahoma City to comeback he must become their second best player. The backup point guard situation is a mess. Neither Norris Cole or Semaj Christon can run a second unit effectively. So why not stagger the minutes between Westbrook and Oladipo?

Let Oladipo run the second unit as point guard, a position he ran frequently during his tenure with the Orlando Magic. This would allow the second unit to have some sort of playmaking ability with Westbrook on the bench, and hopefully an opportunity for Westbrook to breathe a little while he's there.

Also Taj Gibson has to play more. I understand what Billy Donovan is trying to do. The Rockets are littered with three-point shooters, so he wants to counter it by going small and matching their quickness (Oklahoma City's three-point defense is a whole different story). Gibson is rugged defender with the capability of knocking down shots in the post, or from 15 feet away.

In the one game they won, Gibson took 20 points on 13 shots.

The Thunder's season could end tonight, but with the right adjustments they could push the pressure against the Rockets

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bricks Lead to Brink

I'll just say it. That was one of the worst five minutes of basketball I've ever seen. Stupid fouls, missed calls, turnovers, both teams looked like they just started at the YMCA league.

The worst, which most Thunder fans will agree with, is the foul Jerami Grant committed on Houston forward Nene.

With about 20 seconds to go Steven Adams went to the line with a chance to cut the deficit to just three. But, after making the first free throw Adams went to half court to set up a play of his own. Westbrook began nodding his head and made his way to the three point line, waiting for his opportunity.

Adams return to the free throw line, takes one dribble and throws the ball off the front of the rim. The Thunder center skies for the rebound and throws a pass to a waiting Russell Westbrook. BANG.

The Thunder were down just one point, 108-107. Any way the Rockets played it, OKC would have an opportunity to tie the game unless they really screwed up.

Spoiler: They screwed up.

The Rockets inbounded the ball, where the Thunder immediately should've fouled. They denied the ball to their best free throw shooter (Harden), which was a success. The only poor free throw shooter the Rockets had on the floor was Nene, but he was on the other end of the court.

It didn't really make sense to waste time hoping for a miracle steal, the Thunder needed all the time they could get. But the Thunder did not foul...at least not yet. No, Oklahoma City decided to wait and foul Nene as the big went up for a layup. They screwed up.

The only way the Thunder could eliminate themselves from the game at that point was allow a three point shot, or foul on an and-1. Fouling on the inbounds would have gotten rid of both of those possibilities.

Nene made the following free throw, eliminating the Thunder from the game and placing their season on the line Tuesday night.

There's still a chance the Thunder could pull it out (they themselves blew a 3-1 lead last year), but chances are slim. Russell Westbrook needs to pull one last rabbit out of his hat, or rather some teammates that'll contribute when he's not on the floor.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Westbrook Saves Thunder Again In 114-106 Victory Over Magic

                                          Photo by Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel 
Well...that was something. Russell Westbrook just did the impossible for the second game in a row and did it while having one of the best games of his career.

The Thunder were down by as many as 21 points in the second half and were down double digits entering the fourth quarter. All hope seemed to be gone, but Westbrook strutted toward the scorers table at the seven minute mark looking as confident as ever.

Westbrook scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to help storm a comeback and give the Thunder a chance with 15 seconds remaining. Nikola Vucevic was at the free throw line and had a chance to seal the game. The Magic were up three points with one free throw remaining.

As the free throw went up, Westbrook positioned himself for the rebound and it fell right in his hands. Ten seconds left Westbrook is racing down the court and pulls up a deeeeeeeep three point shot in front of two defenders.

I could hear the frustration of Thunder fans as the shot went up. Twitter was preparing to slaughter Westbrook for his shot attempt. But, the miracle shot went in.

The shot forced overtime and Westbrook was not going to let his team down. The Thunder never let him from the opening tip of overtime. Russell finished with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It is the most points ever scored in a triple-double game. It was Westbrook's 38th of the season and now only needs three to tie Oscar Robertson's record of 41.

The Thunder moved to 43-31 behind an MVP performance from Westbrook.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thunder Fall to Rockets in Shootout

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Houston Rockets in a high scoring affair 137-125.

Russell Westbrook finished the game with his 36th triple-double of the year, ending with 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.

If the box score was any indicator, offense wasn't really an issue throughout the ballgame for the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot 50 percent from the field in the game and 36 percent from three, but the offensive firepower the Thunder brought to the game was overshadowed by an incredible shooting performance by the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets shot 63 percent from the field and and scorching 51 percent from downtown. While bad defense no doubt played a part in the high percentage, Houston also just couldn't miss. On contested jumpers the Rockets shot 73.8 percent (credit to the guys at Thunderous Intentions for finding this data). Now when a team is just hitting tough shots, there is really nothing you can do about it.

The Thunder now sit at 41-31, tied in the loss column with the 5th seeded Clippers. With 10 games to play there is still a lot at stake with Oklahoma City.

First off is seeding. The Thunder would love to jump the Clippers and have a first round matchup against the Jazz. Oklahoma City matches up well against Utah and might be favored to win the series. If the Thunder stay at #6 then they would play the Houston Rockets. I don't think it's impossible for the Thunder to beat the Houston Rockets in a seven game series. Playoff basketball is a different animal and anything can happen, but the Rockets three point shooting will give the Thunder fits. Enough talk on that though, that'll be for another day.

The second thing at stake for the Thunder, or Russell Westbrook, is the MVP award and Westbrook's triple-double count. Westbrook is most likely going to finish the season averaging a triple-double, but will that along with carrying Oklahoma City to a possible 5th seed be enough to snag the award? Most polls that have been conducted so far by some media members have James Harden winning MVP and Westbrook finishing second. But, anything can happen in the NBA.

The Thunder will take on the Mavericks tonight at 7:30 in Dallas.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Westbrook's Historic Night Pushes Thunder Past 76ers

Image received from footwearnews
On Wednesday night, Russell Westbrook became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double while going perfect from the floor and the free throw line.

Westbrook finished with 18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds to give the Thunder a 122-97 victory over the 76ers. Enes Kanter came off the bench and destroyed Jahlil Okafor in the post to the tune of 24 points and 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Victor Oladipo chipped in 18 points and Doug McDermott 13 points.

From the opening tip the Thunder were just too much to handle for the inexperienced Philadelphia team. The Thunder won the first quarter 29-22 and never relinquished their lead.

Westbrook now has 35 triple-doubles on the season, placing him only six behind Oscar Robertson's record of 41 with 11 games to play.

The Thunder are just 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the 5th seed in the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today the Thunder would play the Houston Rockets in the first round, a matchup they are capable of winning. If they were to advance, Oklahoma City, barring a miracle performance from the Denver Nuggets, would play the Golden State Warriors.

The Thunder's next game will be against the Houston Rockets on Sunday in a potential first round matchup.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Blogging For Dummies

The Learning Curve

What I've learned about writing for a blog is to not stick to a general formula. Every post you make is going to be different, so it's ok if one is shorter than another, designed a different way, and written a different way. Looking at the same format while scrolling through a blog can get boring. Switch it up. Put videos, tweets, pictures, anything to spice up the post you're making. Make things stand out, put bold headlines

The Journey of Blogging

At first my blog was as generic as it gets. A basic template took over my blog for the first couple of weeks. But as I started to settle in, my blog started to take form. I put a nice picture as the background and my blog posts became more detailed and fun. While the look of my blog is not the fanciest (I'm still trying to figure things out) I think it is an appealing look over what I had for the first couple of weeks. My first blog posts had no pictures or videos, but after a couple of weeks I began to add videos and tweets to make my posts for alive.

Can't Live Without You

Blogging and sports are becoming a unit you can't take apart. Blogging has given big sports media industries the ability to hire reporters who can be in the thick of things without having to relocate at all. Almost every single sport and team has a specific blog talking about them. The blogs people have created now are a resume to show future employers and are a big advantage over other job seekers. Blogging in the sports industries can blossom into a long  career of sports writing and give you the chance to cover a team you love.

Changing For the Better

Blogging in this class has affected my writing style dramatically. Writing for sports is a little different than writing about other things in the news world. It still has to be in inverted pyramid, but it's mainly chronological. This class has made me read even more sports articles to get different techniques on writing. I want to make sure I'm up to date on the latest sports lingo and include it in my blog posts. Overall I think I have become a more well-rounded writer capable of writing about various topics.

Lessons Learned

I've learned the importance of originality. Nobody wants to read a blog that is an exact copy of another blog. People want to see different outlooks on situations and see different topics. If you're not original you're not going to make it far in the writing industry. If you're stringing out the same content week by week you can guarantee you're employer will be looking for someone else to take you're place. While that's a stressful thing to take in, it also makes me push harder.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thunder Storm Pass Nets

The blizzard outside the Barclay Center seemed to effect both teams sluggish defensive effort. Throughout the whole week the game was in question. A storm moving through the east really made the game questionable, but the game would take place.

The Oklahoma City Thunder rolled past the Brooklyn Nets 122-104 as Russell Westbrook collected his 33rd triple-double of the season.

If the final score wasn't an indicator, this game had absolutely no defense. At halftime the score was tied at 62-62.

Russell Westbrook was once again a force to be reckoned with. Most people thought that come February the triple-doubles would dwindle down. But Westbrook is playing with the same energy he did opening night. Westbrook finished with 25 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds, now placing him only eight triple-doubles behind Oscar Robertson's all time record.

Victor Oladipo had another great game, scoring 21 points on 9-15 shooting. When Oladipo has to be held out because of back spasms he said it worked wonders for his wrist, which he injured near the end of December. His productivity has backed his statement.

Now with these two having such a great game you would think they would top the plus-minus for the team, but that isn't the case. In fact, the top three players in regards to plus-minus for the Thunder all came off the bench. Alex Abrines was a +23, Domantas Sabonis was a +17 and Enes Kanter was a +14. With Kanter back the Thunder bench is finding their rhythm that the unit once had in January.

The Thunder will be in Toronto tomorrow night to take on the Raptors.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Success in Sports Blogging

Blogging has essentially become the gateway into larger industries in the sports world.  ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, frequently searches for talented bloggers and adds them to their diverse cast of writers.  One’s blog is an audition to show off your writing style, and if it’s original and creative enough, it could land you a big time job.
            As small as a blog can be it can also be a massive resume for the large sports companies to take a look at.  ESPN has a blogging affiliate for just about every major sport team.  ESPN has blogs for all 32 NFL teams, every NBA team, College Football, fantasy sports, soccer, the NHL and ESPN just keeps expanding their range. 
Four years ago it was announced that ESPN would be hiring bloggers for every NFL team because they knew how important this type of media was.  The rise of blogs forced ESPN to look for different alternatives and what the answer the came upon was hiring those bloggers.  ESPN surrounds their bloggers with producers and editors who work to help bloggers move across platforms.  Bloggers are usually local and the fact that they could be on the scene was a huge factor for ESPN.
            One of the more notable bloggers hired by ESPN is Oklahoma’s own Royce Young.  He started his blog Daily Thunder in 2008 after hearing Oklahoma City was getting an NBA team.  Young was straight out of college and had worked for the University of Oklahoma’s newspaper for three years.  When the Thunder came he saw an opportunity—and so did ESPN.  Not long after the creation of his blog ESPN made it part of its TrueHoop network.  The TrueHoop Network contains ESPN’s affiliate NBA blogs.

            Blogging has created a quick and easy way for the large sports industries to view your creativity and work in an instant.  The big sports companies are constantly looking for bloggers to hire and once you’re in, it could lead to a bigger job in the near future.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thunder Aggressive As Trade Deadline Draws Near

According to Royce Young of ESPB, the Thunder are aggressive as the trade deadline approaches. Young recently tweeted that the Thunder are interested in acquiring Doug McDermott of the Chicago Bulls.

McDermott, a product out of Creighton, is a scoring forward who would greatly benefit the Thunder's perimeter offense. The 6'8 small forward is shooting 38 percent from three on the season and is a career 39 percent shooter from downtown.

Oklahoma City is in desperate need of a three point shooter and McDermott would fit the bill.

Marc Stein tweeted this morning that Oklahoma City has their eyes on Chicago's Taj Gibson. Adding Gibson give the Thunder another strong presence down low to pair with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

Sam Presti is also searching for a scoring forward to add to the Thunder's arsenal.

Trade Deadline Special

The trade deadline on February 23rd is quickly approaching. A blockbuster deal has already happened, with the Pelicans prying DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings to form a deadly front court duo with Anthony Davis.

Thunder fans need to be reasonable when approaching this years deadline. Just because the Kings gave away DeMarcus Cousins for a practically nothing does not mean the same will happen for other superstars in the league. That means you can cross off your Kyle Singler for Paul George trade.

Oklahoma City will make a move. Sam Presti is known to be very active around the trade deadline and you can bet it will be more of the same this year. But, don't expect a move that will significantly swing the pendulum for the Thunder.

Here are some realistic trades the Thunder could make:

Thunder Get the Three They've Been Searching For

Thunder receive: Wilson Chandler

Nuggets Receive: Andre Roberson, Cameron Payne

This trade idea is courtesy of Jon Hamm and it makes sense for both teams. Wilson Chandler has made it clear he wants out of Denver. The forward is a solid defender with a good three point stroke and the ability to play the three or four. Denver reportedly is looking for a first round draft pick in exchange for Chandler, but the Thunder don't have any draft picks to give away for awhile. The Nuggets would be receiving a stout defender in Andre Roberson and a talented point guard still on a rookie contract.

The Thunder have now been reported to have marked Chandler off of their list, but with Sam Presti as the General Manager anything can happen.

Kings Abandoning Ship

Thunder receive: Darren Collison

Kings receive: Cameron Payne

In this trade the Thunder would be reuniting a UCLA backcourt while the Kings get a point guard they have been high on. Now while this trade makes sense on the court, Collison's off the court issues probably force Sam Presti to turn this deal down. Collison was charged with domestic abuse earlier this season and Presti does not want that kind of presence surrounding the Thunder culture.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Enes Kanter Nearing Return

Enes Kanter was seen at practice on Wednesday in a Thunder practice uniform and Billy Donovan did not rule out a possibility of him playing Friday.

Wednesday's practice was a non-contact as Kanter slowly works his way back into playing shape. The Thunder center still has to pass several tests during a more physical Thursday practice such as defending in the post without pain and driving in the paint.

If Kanter can complete these tasks, the Thunder center should be given the green light for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Enes Kanter broke his forearm on January 26 against the Dallas Mavericks after he punched a bench chair. The Thunder announced Kanter would be reevaluated in 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Warriors Beat Thunder in Kevin Durant's Homecoming

Kevin Durant guards Russell Westbrook during the third quarter of  last nights game. (image retrieved from: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/eNmddiL-ZwE/maxresdefault.jpg).
The Golden State Warriors lead the Oklahoma City by double-digits throughout the majority of the game, but you wouldn't be able to tell by the roar of the crowd. It was the most exciting, intense and emotional blowout maybe ever.

The Warriors beat the Thunder 130-114 in Kevin Durant's first game back in Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook scored a game high 47 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Durant had 34 points in his homecoming.

The game featured a chaotic media frenzy. ESPN brought SportsCenter and many other programs to prepare for the big game. Fans in OKC were a little excited too.

It was the fans first glimpse of their former savior in person. They flocked to the hotel where the Warriors were staying, came several hours early to boo him while he warmed up and when it was time to call Durant's name, the fans let him hear the heartache he caused.

Louder than the boo's however were the deafening cheers Russell Westbrook received during introductions. The crowd never lost their energy even while the team faced a 20 point deficit.

Every time Durant touched the ball he was immediately and emphatically booed.

The Thunder were able to jump out to an early lead in the game, but the Warriors star power started to overwhelm Oklahoma City. A long second quarter scoring drought sent the Thunder into halftime down 23 points.

Coming out of the break the Thunder started to show signs of life. The game never seemed out of the Warriors hands, but Westbrook and the Thunder weren't ready to give up yet. About midway through the third quarter Westbrook started to find his groove and it was with Kevin Durant guarding him.

Durant had started the game on Roberson, but was now exclusively defending Westbrook when the guard came up the court. Russell was up for the challenge and roasted Durant on two straight possessions forcing a Warriors timeout. Westbrook walked by Durant and started yelling, "I'm coming!". Durant began to jaw back at Westbrook, the former duo now cementing their estranged relationship.

Not long after this exchange Durant drove inside with Roberson defending and drew a foul. Durant bounced back up and he and Roberson started to exchange some words at a very close distance. The two had to be seperated and you could hear the crowd break out in cheers for what Roberson had just done.

At one point during the fourth quarter the Thunder cut it to 12 and it seemed like OKC might be able to pull it off. But, like he did so many times before in the building, Durant hit a long three point shot to seal the game for his new team.

There were no handshakes. No waves. Both teams walked to their respective tunnels, never glancing back. These two teams were supposed to become the next great rivals of the NBA, battling for Western Conference superiority, but that was quickly ruined on the Fourth of July.

The games between these two teams may not be ultra competitive like in years past, but with Westbrook on board, Thunder and co. sure show a lot of heart in the face of defeat.

Images from last night:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Oklahoma City's Super Bowl

This is it. When Kevin Durant announced his decision to spurn the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, fans in Oklahoma City were already circling the date on their calendar.

Fans could have gotten over Kevin Durant leaving. But it's how he left and who went to that twisted hearts in Oklahoma City.

Some players are trying to downplay the significance of this game. The truth is this is the most important game in the last four years for the Thunder.

Russell Westbrook's epic signing saved a city from turmoil and instantly turned him into the most loved sports player in the state.

Durant sent a text to Westbrook to tell him of his decision. Russell handled the situation in perfect fashion, shutting his phone and asking assistant general manager Troy Weaver, "What's Next?"

Oklahomans value trust, honesty, family, all things Westbrook preached at his signing ceremony.
Unlike the other two games against the Warriors, this time around Westbrook has a whole state cheering him on until the last second.

This game means everything to the state of Oklahoma and quite frankly this Thunder team. Oklahoma City badly wants this game and no one wants it more than Westbrook.

This whole Thunder team is going to be full of energy knowing that this is not your normal sports game.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to be in Chesapeake Energy Arena together tonight and while previously there was dispute amongst fans about the duo, there is no doubt whose name they will be chanting tonight.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Third Quarter Dooms Thunder, Move to 30-23

The Thunder entered tonight's game coming off a performance where every player contributed. Tonight's game was a different story. Oklahoma City fell to the Indiana Pacers 93-90 behind a pour shooting night from the team. Russell Westbrook was about the only offensive threat tonight scoring  27 points to go along with 18 rebounds and nine assists.

Oklahoma City shot 38.6 percent from the field and 25 percent from three point range. On the other end of the court the team looked energetic, switching and hustling to close out three point shooters. The team's defensive efforts held Indiana to 38 percent shooting for the game and held Paul George to 21 points on 7-20 shooting. It was the third quarter that was the Thunder's demise.

The Thunder, who were up by as many as 15, let Indiana come storming back in the third period. Oklahoma City was outscored 32-18 in the quarter.

While Russell Westbrook's heroics were able to bring the Thunder back in the game, it wasn't enough to steal one in Indiana. Westbrook had two chances in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime, but missed both three point opportunities.

Not all was negative in tonight's game however. Andre Roberson had another stellar performance, notching his second double-double of the season, 11 points and 11 rebounds, while also holding Paul George to shooting just 35 percent from the field.

The Thunder's rebounding was once again dominant. OKC grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, seven of them coming from Steven Adams.

Oklahoma City moved to 30-23 on the season. The Thunder will be in Oklahoma City on Thursday to take on the Cavs before a Saturday showdown against some guy called Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thunder Rebounding Wills Team to Victory

If the first possession was any indication, the Thunder made it a priority to crash the glass against the Trail Blazers. The Thunder pulled down four offensive rebounds on their first possession, closing the first quarter with seven offensive rebounds.

Steven Adams Adams was a monster on the boards tonight. Though Adams did not have the most productive offensive day, 3-11 for seven points, the Thunder big made his presence felt on the boards. Adams finished with 13 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end. 

The Thunder saw contributions from just about everyone on the boards. Andre Roberson had 11 rebounds, Victor Oladipo matched Adams with 13 and Joffrey Lauvergne came off the bench to grab nine.

Andre Roberson was fantastic. Roberson finished with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. 

Russell Westbrook had another usual performance in his books. Westbrook went 16-34 from the floor to score 42 points and dishing out eight assists along the way.

The Thunder are now 30-22 on the season and are currently .5 game behind Memphis for the 6th seed. 

With Enes Kanter out the Thunder hope they can stay afloat until he is able to make his comeback.

The Thunder will play at Indiana tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kanter Injures Wrist As Thunder Take Down Depleted Mavs

In the second quarter of tonight's game against the Mavericks, Enes Kanter came to the bench furious, slamming his hand on a chair in frustration. Kanter immediately knew something was wrong as he glanced at his wrist. According to Billy Donovan, Kanter suffered a right forearm fracture.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports the Thunder center will be out 6-8 weeks.

This would deal a tremendous blow to the Thunder lineup. The team heavily relies on Kanter to lead the second unit, which lacks any potent scorers besides himself. Kanter, an already serious threat on offense, has shown an improved passing game this season, especially out of double teams--a flaw that was shown in the last year's Warriors series.

As a team with a shortage of offensive playmakers, Kanter was an extremely reliable player off the bench, leading some to believe Kanter would be the 6th Man of the Year.

This has far more consequences than what meets the eye. Not only does it hurt the team in terms of wins and losses, but any significant move the Thunder planned to make at the trade deadline almost certainly had to involve Kanter. The 24 year old center was impressing teams around the league with his improved playmaking, increasing his trade value significantly. The Thunder just recently signed Oladipo and Adams to major contracts and don't plan on moving the duo anytime soon, unless a godlike offer arouse.

While a significant trade was unlikely, the Thunder now have no real shot at moving the needle anymore.

The Thunder have already dealt with a wrist injury earlier this season with Victor Oladipo, though the  guards injury was not as severe as Kanter's. With Oladipo out, the bench began to find a rhythm, with Kanter being the conductor.

While the injury caused a hole in the Thunder offense in the second half, the team rallied behind Westbrook's 45 points on an efficient 16-29 on field goals to beat the Dirk-less Mavericks. The team also received contributions from Victor Oladipo (17 points) and Steven Adams (15 points).

The Thunder will be in Cleveland this Sunday to take on the Cavaliers with a 2:30 tip-off.

Video of the incident:

Thunder Pummel Pelicans

A cutting Enes Kanter received a sharp pass from Russell Westbrook. With the paint surrounded by shot blockers, Anthony Davis and Omer Asik, the best option looked to be a pass back to the top of the key. Kanter, however had different thoughts. The 6'10 brute drove to the basket, escalating over the towering defense to slam home a monstrous dunk.

Kanter finished with 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds in a 114-105 victory over the Pelicans.

With Anthony Davis leaving the game early due to a right quad injury, the Thunder had an opportunity to blow past the Pelicans.

The Thunder lead did not stretch out at first, but the team had a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter because of some solid bench production. However, the Pelicans did come racing back to cut a once 21 point game to nine.

Westbrook would push the Thunder to their 27th win, while also earning his 23rd triple double of the season. To put that number into perspective Vince Carter, a future Hall of Famer, has five triple doubles in his entire career. Carter has played 1,314 games while Westbrook beat his triple double mark in a span of seven games.

While Westbrook's shooting numbers have not been great, he is the heart and soul of this Thunder team, single handedly leading them to victory night in and night out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Thunder Silence Jazz in their Best Victory of the New Year

Russell Westbrook pulls up over the back peddling Rudy Gobert for the game winning shot. Courtesy of NBA.com
The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Jazz 97-95, in what was their best win of the new year. The Jazz came into the game with a six game winning streak, but a last second shot from Russell Westbrook would end their run.

This was a game of ups and downs. In the first quarter, Westbrook torched Dante Exum every chance he could get, helping the Thunder gain an early 27-26 at the end of the first.

The Thunder started to hit their stride in the second quarter, but then fell apart to let the Jazz come within three going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime the Thunder looked extremely sluggish. After a great first half, Westbrook struggled to find his shot, missing 13 straight at one point. The Thunder scored a lousy 11 points in the third quarter as the Jazz came storming back to take the lead entering the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw Westbrook and the team at their finest. With under a minute to go Westbrook hit a three to put the Thunder on the high side (kudos to Brian Davis). Off a blocked shot, Westbrook led the fast break with Steven Adams as Russell dished out his 10th assist, giving him his 22nd triple double of the season. With a solid defensive outing on the next play the Thunder looked like they were going to win the game.

Coming out of a timeout the Jazz drew up a play that set up a wide open three from Gordon Hayward with the help of some porous defense from the Thunder. Oklahoma City then called timeout to draw up a play of their own.

I thought I knew what was coming: a contested three from Westbrook. But I was wrong. Following the timeout, Billy Donovan elected not to advance the ball, giving Westbrook more room to operate. As Westbrook crossed the half court line, a screen came from Adams as the Jazz defense looked standstill. Grant Hill tried his best to recover from Adams' screen, but it was already too late. Westbrook pulled a midrange jump shot in front of the back peddling Rudy Gobert to win the game.

Westbrook continues to strengthen his case for MVP and looks to take the All-Star snub as even more motivation.

On another note, Russell Westbrook almost ended Rudy Gobert's career.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blog Introduction

Thunder Rumblings is your daily source for all things Thunder basketball. This blog will contain game recaps, rumors, weekly roundups, and analysis of certain players and plays throughout the season. With drama in every game, a historic triple-double season bout, there is plenty to talk about this Thunder season and you can expect to see it all unfold here. When the NBA season comes to a close you can still expect frequent content following the NBA Draft, free agency, and summer league basketball.